The Washington Post can’t figure out human life begins at conception. Hoping to somehow embarrass pro-life Sen. Marco Rubio — who asserted that human life begins at fertilization — the liberal newspaper couldn’t a grasp on the scientific facts many kids learn in 7th grade life science class.
To help them out, the paper had to ask some doctors their opinion — but the group it asked is a pro-abortion advocacy group that opposed a ban on partial-birth abortions.
We reached out to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an association comprised of a large majority of the nation’s ob-gyns. The organization’s executive vice president and CEO, Hal C Lawrence, III, MD, offered his response to Rubio.
Government agencies and American medical organizations agree that the scientific definition of pregnancy and the legal definition of pregnancy are the same: pregnancy begins upon the implantation of a fertilized egg into the lining of a woman’s uterus. This typically takes place, if at all, between 5 and 9 days after fertilization of the egg – which itself can take place over the course of several days following sexual intercourse.
In other words: Consensus exists (if not unanimously), and the consensus is that uterine implantation is the moment at which pregnancy begins.
Conservatives on Twitter let the Post have it for their silly science.
“Marco Rubio demanded people look at the science on abortion. So we did.” No you didn’t. Not at all. This is awful–> https://t.co/f8JJlLHDA4
— Timothy P Carney (@TPCarney) May 15, 2014
@chrislhayes But “life begins at implantation” is … well, not even denialism, just absurdity.
— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) May 15, 2014
WaPo thinks life beginning and pregnancy beginning are synonymous. Which is dumb, since life does not end at birth. https://t.co/IDmcJvwRGr
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 15, 2014
Shocked that someone with this level of journalistic integrity, competence would mess up a “when life begins” piece. https://t.co/rP3doWs0cK
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) May 15, 2014
It literally took me five seconds to find more quotes from scientists saying life begins at conception than @TheFix had in his “article.”
— RB (@RBPundit) May 15, 2014
Here’s what scientists and scientific textbooks have to say.
A New, Distinct Human Organism Comes into Being at Fertilization
It is undisputed that a new, distinct human organism comes into existence during the process of fertilization. Scientific literature states the following:
• “The fusion of sperm and egg membranes initiates the life of a sexually reproducing organism.”
• “The life cycle of mammals begins when a sperm enters an egg.”
• “Fertilization is the process by which male and female haploid gametes (sperm and egg) unite to produce a genetically distinct individual.”
• “The oviduct or Fallopian tube is the anatomical region where every new life begins in mammalian species. After a long journey, the spermatozoa meet the oocyte in the specific site of the oviduct named ampulla, and fertilization takes place.”
• “Fertilization – the fusion of gametes to produce a new organism – is the culmination of a multitude of intricately regulated cellular processes.”
The government’s own definition attests to the fact that life begins at fertilization. According to the National Institutes of Health, “fertilization” is the process of union of two gametes (i.e., ovum and sperm) “whereby the somatic chromosome number is restored and the development of a new individual is initiated.” Thus, in the context of human life, a new individual human organism is initiated at the union of ovum and sperm. One textbook similarly explains: Human development begins at fertilization when a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoon) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to produce a single cell – a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.
Thus, a new human organism is created before the developing embryo implants in the uterus – i.e., before that time at which some people consider a woman “pregnant.”
 See, e.g., Condic, When Does Human Life Begin? A Scientific Perspective (The Westchester Institute for Ethics & the Human Person Oct. 2008), https://bdfund.org/wordpress/wpcontent/uploads/2012/06/wi_whitepaper_life_print.pdf; George & Tollefsen, EMBRYO 39 (2008).
 Marsden et al., Model systems for membrane fusion, CHEM. SOC. REV. 40(3):1572 (Mar. 2011) (emphasis added).
 Okada et al., A role for the elongator complex in zygotic paternal genome demethylation, NATURE 463:554 (Jan. 28, 2010) (emphasis added).
 Signorelli et al., Kinases, phosphatases and proteases during sperm capacitation, CELL TISSUE RES. 349(3):765 (Mar. 20, 2012) (emphasis added).
 Coy et al., Roles of the oviduct in mammalian fertilization, REPRODUCTION 144(6):649 (Oct. 1, 2012) (emphasis added).
 Marcello et al., Fertilization, ADV. EXP. BIOL. 757:321 (2013) (emphasis added).
 National Institutes of Health, Medline Plus Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary (2013), https://www.merriamwebster.com/medlineplus/fertilization (emphasis added).
 Moore & Persaud, THE DEVELOPING HUMAN 16 (7th ed. 2003) (emphasis added).
 For an overview of how the definition of “pregnancy” has changed, see Gacek, Conceiving Pregnancy: U.S. Medical Dictionaries and Their Definitions of Conception and Pregnancy, FRC INSIGHT PAPER (Apr. 2009), https://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF09D12.pdf.